An exclusive interview with Gaela Brown

Rising LA star Gaela Brown will be performing in Malta on Saturday 30 November at the Orpheum Theatre in Gzira. She talks to MaltaToday about her journey so far.

Tickets are now available from Accessorize, New York Best, La Rive or for €20 or €35 for VIP tickets
Tickets are now available from Accessorize, New York Best, La Rive or for €20 or €35 for VIP tickets

Gaela Brown... a princess of soul; a royal survivor - whatever you want to call her as soon as she opens her mouth to sing you will be mesmerised. Last summer Galea performed and intimate gig for a small crowd at Tal-Villag in Lija. She's back again on Saturday 30 November for a much larger gig at the Orpheum Theatre in Gzira.

When did it all start for you?

Well... Ever since I was six years old I knew that I wanted my life to revolve around music. But it started to become a reality for me three years ago when I moved to New York. I base myself between Tel Aviv and New York where I started performing wherever I could. From the streets and the metro in New York to jazz clubs like the Lenox and the Village Underground, whilst also performing at as many gigs as I can at home in Tel Aviv.

About a year and half ago, the president of CanUFeelitRecords, an LA record label, Patrick Smadja, saw one of my performances in Israel, then looked me up and saw some songs on the internet and signed me up.

From there on its been lots of hard work, but its exhilarating to be travelling the world doing things that love. I believe in this industry talent is not the only thing that is important. There are plenty of talented artists out there who don't make it. What you need to succeed is a combination of talent, hard work and luck. Being in the right place at the right time is invaluable.

How has being signed up to a record label changed things for you?

Patrick has been like a father to me. Of course there is a lot of help on the production end, but also from a business perspective in trying to get the most out of my career. He understands what is like to be a musician and allows for a lot of creative freedom.

Since I signed with CanUFeelitRecords, life has been a bit crazy! We are working on a ton of new projects and 2014- 2015 is poised to be my biggest year yet!

We are currently in the studio working on an EP and getting ready to tour in the US and Canada. I've been working on my album with incredible international artists, the likes of Kamil Rustam, Amy Keys, Gabriel Mcnair, Beyonce and the Lenny Kravitz's team.

I've had the opportunity to be part of the Grammy Awards in 2013, the Trace TV awards in Paris and have worked closely with the CO movie soundtrack department jury of the Grammy Awards.

My management team has also enabled me to link up with a really cool company called that allows me to have some international exposure not only when releasing my EP but also for all of my events.

You are performing in Malta on 30 November. How did Malta get onto your radar?

My father worked as an architect in Malta and he always loved the island. I decided to come over on holiday earlier this year and fell in love with the place just as he did. The people are so warm and friendly and I've made friends quickly. I also performed an intimate gig at Tal-Villag in Lija and my music was very well received. I'm really looking forward to performing here again at the end of the month.

You've been referred to as a royal survivor. How did you pick up that name?

Haha. Well, yes, it all has to do with my family histroy. My grandmother is a queen in Cameroon, so I guess that makes me a princess! My father was a holocaust survivor in Cracovie, in Poland, which provides me with the survivor part. He met my mother while she was studying in Paris and though he was working in Berlin, he travelled to Paris often. They fell in love, in the city of love, and my three siblings and I were the result.

How has your family life influenced your music?

I grew up as one of four siblings - two sisters and a brother - and I was sandwiched in the middle. My older sisters played the piano ever since I could remember and I always wanted to play like they did. So I taught myself.

By the age of 11, I decided I wanted to learn to play the violin and nagged my father until he agreed to buy me one and enrol me into the Russian International Conservatory Alexandre Sciabine. We were always taught the value of a well-rounded education, but the reality is that I have always known that I wanted my life to revolve around music and I am lucky to have had support first from my family and now from my record label.

Why the violin? When I was growing up it seemed like a stuffy instrument that required hours and hours of practice. There were much more fun instruments out there.

I never thought the violin was stuffy! I was attracted the swag of the violin. I've always had a natural ability to learn music so I didn't find it difficult to learn. That does not mean to say that it was plain sailing all the way but I do appreciate that I have a natural ability that makes learning an instrument easier for me than for others.

What else has influenced your music?

I love all sorts of music and dance and the music I write has been influenced by a large number of genres from various forms of African music, Yiddish music, classical, soul, samba and jazz. I have also always been intrigued by hip-hop, both the dance style and the music. I like to think that having such a large variety to draw from makes my style of music unique.

File sharing has changed the way we listen to (and pay for) music. How has that affected young artists trying to break into the industry?

Like in any other industry you just need to focus on your work and your performance. It can be discouraging and distracting to see that your hard work does not pay off financially. However there are other ways to make money and we need to work on those in order to create an industry suits both producers and consumers.

In the meantime I like to focus on the good parts of my job, one of which is the concert in Malta at the end of this month.


Gaela Brown will be performing live together with her the rest of her band from Tel Aviv and Paris at the Orpheum Theatre in Gzira. Also performing on the day are Malta's own Stalko and The New Victorians.

Tickets are selling at €20 or €35 for VIP tickets and are available from Accessorize, New York Best and La Rive or on

Catch some of Gaela's tunes on

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it's Gaela, not Galea...